Photo Credit: Types of Hearing Loss | CDC
By Lawrence Jones II, Ph.D.
Regardless of gender, you can benefit from caring for your hearing in many ways. As June concluded Men’s health month, hearing loss is a topic that has come up often in families whose dads and grandfathers' age. In time, usually, their hearing isn’t what it once was—studies on men’s hearing research report that hearing loss is more prevalent in men than women. For example, Miracle Ear (April 26, 2021) reports that “men are nearly three times more likely to develop hearing loss than women.
While noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs in men and women, men are nearly more likely to develop it.” Environmental factors are considered to contribute to hearing loss in men is more prevalent because they are “typically the ones who are working in louder environments.” Factory and construction jobs are some of the loudest and mostly male-dominated occupations. Interestingly, the research suggests that Black men, who also suffer from hearing loss, are less likely to develop hearing loss compared to other races of men with less melanin (skin pigment).
Pratt and Associates’ (2009) study determined the impact of age, gender, and race on hearing loss in older adults aged 72–96. They also considered socioeconomic income, smoking, and cardiovascular disease factors. Their results determined that hearing loss was “more common and more severe for the participants in their 80s than for those in their 70s—the men more than the women and in White participants more than the Black participants.” Pratt and associates’ inclusion of education, income, smoking, and cardiovascular disease did not substantively impact the overall results.
Lin and Associates (2012) research suggests that “the odds of hearing loss are substantially lower in black than in white individuals.” They hypothesized that skin pigmentation (melanocytes) is an observed association with hearing loss regardless of ethnicity or racial identity. Brian and associates (2017) suggest that the “melanocytes (melanin) have antioxidant functions might serve to protect against the death of inner ear hair cells.” This generated article shares that hearing loss can come with men over time more so than with women. Get your hearing checked with annual checkups. The references below are provided to read further into the subject. The Narrative Matters!
Brian M. Lin, Wen-Qing Li, Sharon G. Curhan, Konstantina M. Stankovic, Abrar A. Qureshi, Gary C. Curhan, Skin Pigmentation and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 186, Issue 1, 1 July 2017, Pages 1–10, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx024
Lin, F. R., Maas, P., Chien, W., Carey, J. P., Ferrucci, L., & Thorpe, R. (2012). Association of skin color, race/ethnicity, and hearing loss among adults in the USA. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO, 13(1), 109–117. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10162-011-0298-8
Miracle Ear (April 26, 2021). Is Hearing Loss More Common in Men? Middle-Ear https://www.miracle-ear.com/blog-news/hearing-loss-is-more-common-among-men
Nolan, L. (June 18, 2020). Age-related hearing loss: Why we need to think about sex as a biological variable. Journal of Neuroscience Research. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jnr.24647
Pratt, S. R., Kuller, L., Talbott, E. O., McHugh-Pemu, K., Buhari, A. M., & Xu, X. (2009). Prevalence of hearing loss in Black and White elders: results of the Cardiovascular Health Study. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 52(4), 973–989. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0026)